Optoceutics: A new technique using light for regenerative medicine

September 30, 2019

Using light to facilitate the formation of new blood vessels: it is the breakthrough outcome of a research study carried out by researchers at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Milan (Italy). The study was published in Science Advances. For the first time, the research group has shown that it is possible to specifically conduct the fate of tissue cells by using visible light together with photo-sensitive and biocompatible materials. This discovery opens up new horizons for regenerative medicine.

In fact, regenerative medicine has the purpose of repairing, regenerating and replacing cells, tissues and even organs damaged by congenital defects, diseases, injuries or aging in order to re-establish the physiological functions. Currently available techniques, comprising gene therapy and biomedical engineering, make use of chemical cues, drugs and physical stimuli, but unfortunately often lack selectivity and reversibility. Thanks to this new study, regenerative medicine can count on a new technique: Optoceutics.

The study has been conducted by an IIT research group led by the responsible for the OptoCell Lab Maria Rosa Antognazza, in collaboration with two Italian partners, the University of Pavia and Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia.

"We are talking about a completely new technique that could lead us to important outcomes in tissue engineering. The use of light as a stimulus is much more versatile and much less invasive compared to the use of electrodes; it can be directed in a more specific way on different cell populations objects of the treatment. The purpose is to create a new area of investigation, which we call "optoceutics", able to walk side by side with pharmaceutic and electroceutical technology with huge application potential." says Maria Rosa Antognazza, IIT researcher.

It is in this context that the research team, along with the cardiovascular physiologist and first author of the study Francesco Lodola, has shown that it is possible to apply the new method to progenitor cells of the endothelial tissue. The researchers managed to effectively promote the in vitro angiogenesis process by using photo active materials as cellular substrates and by stimulating them with short pulses of visible light. These results pave the way to a number of interesting developments in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

The next step will be strengthening the potentiality of the proven technique using other cell models of interest for tissue regeneration. The possibility of modulating the cell fate by optical stimulation allows researchers to be highly precise and minimally invasive; therefore it may be suitable for several applications in the therapeutic field.
-end-
The study was realized as part of two ambitious projects funded by the European Union: LINCE and LION-HEARTED. The first one started last March and it has been financed by the European Research Council (ERC), with the purpose of creating biotechnology devices able to control the cellular metabolism through the use of light and nanotechnology. Meanwhile LION-HEARTED is a FET-OPEN project which falls within the scope of Horizon 2020; it will put the optoceutic technology at the service of the cardiovascular system regenerative medicine and in particular it will target a novel biotechnological therapeutic approach for treating patients who have suffered from an ischemic event.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia - IIT

Related Regenerative Medicine Articles from Brightsurf:

Stem cells: new insights for future regenerative medicine approaches
The study published in Open Biology unravels important data for a better understanding of the process of division in stem cells and for the development of safer ways to use them in medicine.

Engineered developmental signals could illuminate regenerative medicine
For a tiny embryo to develop into an adult organism, its cells must develop in precise patterns and interact with their neighbors in carefully orchestrated ways.

A new discovery in regenerative medicine
An international collaboration involving Monash University and Duke-NUS researchers have made an unexpected world-first stem cell discovery that may lead to new treatments for placenta complications during pregnancy.

New research into stem cell mutations could improve regenerative medicine
Research from the University of Sheffield has given new insight into the cause of mutations in pluripotent stem cells and potential ways of stopping these mutations from occurring.

Keratin scaffolds could advance regenerative medicine and tissue engineering for humans
Researchers at Mossakowski Medical Research Center of the Polish Academy of Science have developed a simple method for preparing 3D keratin scaffold models which can be used to study the regeneration of tissue.

NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.

A new material for regenerative medicine capable to control cell immune response
Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with the University of Montana (USA) proposed a new promising material for regenerative medicine for recovery of damaged tissues and blood vessels.

Optoceutics: A new technique using light for regenerative medicine
Researchers in Italy at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia used visible light together with photo-sensitive and biocompatible materials to facilitate the formation of new blood vessels in vitro.

Major stem cell discovery to boost research into development and regenerative medicine
A new approach has enabled researchers to create Expanded Potential Stem Cells (EPSCs) of both pig and human cells.

Spinning-prism microscope helps gather stem cells for regenerative medicine
Pluripotent stem cells are crucial to regenerative medicine, but better screening methods are needed to isolate safe and effective cells for medical use.

Read More: Regenerative Medicine News and Regenerative Medicine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.